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As many as eight in every 10 women are unhappy with their breasts. While asymmetry, shape, and having excessively large breasts are all causes of unhappiness, having very small breasts can put a large dent in a woman's self-confidence as well.

Young women with small breasts may wonder when breast development finishes, why their breasts are so small, and what they can do to enlarge their breasts.

Pubertal Breast Development

Female breast development is an interesting process: it actually begins in utero, where a rudimentary milk-duct system already takes shape. Breast changes will never stop, starting at birth and continuing right until death. Throughout life, the appearance and structure of breasts are determined by a multitude of factors.

Pubertal breast growth begins when the ovaries start emitting estrogen, first with the slight raising of the nipples and then continuing with the enlargement of the areolae and the formation of breast buds. As adolescence continues, fat will keep on accumulating in the breasts, as the system of milk ducts also matures. This pubertal process is typically complete between the ages of 16 and 19. 

That does not mean your breasts will always stay the same size you have when you are in your late teens and early twenties, but it does mean that you can't reasonably expect a radical increase in breast size without any other radical changes, such as weight gain or pregnancy.

What Happens After?

Young women's breast tissue is dense and firm. With age, this density gradually decreases; by the time a woman is around 35 years old, mammograms can successfully be taken. With this decrease in density, breasts eventually start sagging, though to what extent depends both on size and a woman's genetics.

At the same time, breast size can also wax and wane throughout life, with weight and hormonal changes, especially pregnancy and breastfeeding.

My Breasts Are Too Small: What Now?

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, most perfectly healthy. Women who are so "flat" that their chests are more male in appearance, however, may be dealing with breast hypoplasia.

This underdevelopment of the breasts can be genetic in nature, and due to conditions such as Turner’s syndrome. It can also be the result of a hormonal imbalance: such women may lack sufficient quantities of the hormones that encourage breast growth, or possess too much of the hormones that inhibit it.

In addition, vitamin deficiencies or general underweight can also be the culprit.

If you believe that your breasts are in fact underdeveloped as opposed to simply small, seeing an endocrinologist or asking your primary care physician to refer you to one is a good idea. Should hormonal challenges be behind your breast hypoplasia, your breasts may be able to growth with medical treatment. Gaining weight can lead to breast growth in under-nourished women.

If your breasts are deemed healthy but small, on the other hand, it is completely up to you whether or not you would like to pursue treatment in the form of a breast augmentation.

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